Concussion or Upper Neck Injury??

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UB Concussion Article

Is it really a concussion? Symptoms overlap with neck injuries, making diagnosis a tough call!


If you are suffering from concussion symptoms call Johnson Spinal Care Associates, PA today for a free consultation or contact a NUCCA provider near you!

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Anatomy of a Concussion

Anatomy of a Concussion

Concussion injuries are typically divided into two categories, primary brain injury and secondary brain injury. Primary brain injury is the initial injury to the brain caused by trauma (car accident, sports injury, etc). Secondary brain injury is any damage to the brain following that initial injury and is typically because of physiologic changes in the brain. These changes commonly include decreased or altered blood and cerebral spinal fluid flow and can lead to many of the symptoms listed on the back panel. Secondary brain injury also explains why some concussion sufferers experience brain disorders such as dementia, MS, Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s years later.

A Blood Flow Problem

Advances in MRI technology have enabled researchers to more precisely measure blood flow to and from the brain. Concussions decrease the flow of blood through normal pathways in the brain (see left), forcing blood to find other pathways on its way back to the heart and lungs. This decreases the overall amount of blood to the brain, and less blood means less oxygen! Less oxygen means less fuel for the brain to function! Intracranial compliance is the term used to describe the capacity of your brain to receive blood and cerebral spinal fluid.

Blood Flow Patterns

The Missing Link

National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association (NUCCA) recently completed a research study on migraine headaches, measuring the effects of the NUCCA correction on intracranial compliance. Interestingly, subjects with the same restricted blood flow patterns observed following concussions demonstrated a significant increase in intracranial compliance 8 weeks after their first NUCCA correction!

This means the brain has more capacity for blood and therefore receives more oxygen. Oxygen is critical for normal brain function since it utilizes 20-25% of the total oxygen we breathe in!


The upper neck is the weakest and most complex region of the spine due to its wide range of motion. Therefore, it is the most susceptible to injury and misalignment. The upper neck is also “Grand Central Station” because cerebral spinal fluid, blood vessels, the brainstem and many other key nerves pass through this very crowded area on their way from brain to body. Pressure on these delicate structures can lead to a host of symptoms.

Concussion Symptoms

  • Recurring Headaches
  • Dizziness / Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of Balance
  • Memory Loss
  • Poor Sleep
  • Light / Sound Sensitivity
  • Concentration Issues
  • Personality Changes
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Irritability
Mild traumatic brain injury

NUCCA has developed a very precise, gentle and sophisticated procedure to correct misalignment in the upper neck without any twisting or popping!


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